When It's Time to Go for a "W-A-L-K"

For some, a leash is a leash. For others, such as pet owners who are looking to train their dog, leashes are an essential tool when paired with a proper collar or harness. But with so many styles and designs, how can you be sure you’re choosing the right one? You’ll want to find something that not only fits your style, but also functions as you need it to.

Below are some features about different types of leashes you may encounter. We hope this information helps inform your decision when looking to purchase a new leash.

Standard Leashes

Like the title suggests, these are the types of leashes that tend to come to mind when someone says ‘leash.’ They are commonly made from either nylon or leather material, and are used for everyday walking and training. Typically, these leashes are available in lengths anywhere from 4 to 8 feet, with 6 foot leashes being the most widely used.

This seems to be a happy medium for allowing enough space for the dog to have freedom of movement while still maintaining the ability to quickly take control in situations that warrant it.

Retractable Leashes

Retractable Leashes come in a variety of sizes to suit the age and weight of your dog. These leashes have a retractable cord, often made of nylon, that is either flat or rolled. Depending on the brand, these leashes can extend anywhere from only a few feet to 30! Because of the ability to lock the leash at different length settings, most pet owners feel that these are the most useful.

However, there are some downsides to these leashes. One is lack of control. It’s extremely difficult to reel in an excitable dog or one that may be in a hazardous situation, especially if you have allowed them to gain a good distance from you.

Another argument against these leashes as a go-to is that they often teach a dog to pull, which is the exact opposite of what most pet owners are trying to achieve. It’s best to use retractable leashes with dogs that already know how to walk properly, and in situations where you would like your dog to have the freedom to wander without going completely off-leash.

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Adjustable Leashes

Adjustable leashes are in-between standard and retractable Leashes. The idea behind them is that pet owners have the same sort of control as with a standard leash, but the ability to adjust the length, as with a retractable leash. Adjustments are usually easily achieved by removing clips or loops along the leash to give it more length.

Typically, these leashes have a length of about 6 feet. Shorter adjustments can be made for instances where pet owners would like to hold their dog closer, or to help gain better control. Some pet owners also like to use these leashes around their own torsos for running with their dogs.

Slip-On Leashes

Slip-on leashes, like the martingale leash style, slip over the dog’s head and around the neck. Martingale leashes combine the standard leash style with the function of a martingale collar, which allows for quick tightening to aid in correcting behavior. Other slip-on leash styles are somewhat similar, but may have leather or plastic slides that adjust.

In any instance, slip-on leashes should always be used while also wearing an everyday collar so that the dog still has their identification if they were to get loose from the lead.

Specialty Leashes

This category of leashes are suggested for dogs who already know how to walk properly on a standard leash. Training your dog with a specialty leash is often not recommended, as specialty leashes are typically not used for everyday occurrences. Some examples of specialty leashes are bike leashes and multi-lead leashes.

Bike leashes are just that: leashes that attach to your bicycle. These can be beneficial for very active dogs who need to expend a lot of energy. At first, bike leashes can take some time to get used to, but they are designed in such a way that they will not throw the pet owner off of the bike if the dog were to suddenly lunge.

Most have spring mechanisms within them to adjust length and absorb shock while running alongside the bicycle.

Multi-lead leashes are used for pet owners who walk multiple dogs on the same leash. These can work for well-behaved dogs who don’t pull. There are multi-lead leashes that will allow for more than two dogs, but this may get overwhelming.

Leashes come in many styles, and finding the best one to suit your needs may seem tricky at first. However, with so many to choose from, you’re sure to find one that works for your and your pet! Leashes are a necessary tool to help not only keep your dog safe, but to keep other animals (including other dogs) safe too. In most areas, leashes are also a legal requirement when your dog is in public.

Proper use of your dog’s leash is also essential. If you still have reservations about which leash is best for you and your dog, it’s best to talk with a professional dog trainer.